He Huaishuo (Ho Huai-shuo)
- He Huaishuo (Ho Huai-shuo)
- Approaching Dusk
- ink and colour on paper, hanging scroll
Umbrella, Hong Kong
Lo Shan Tang, Hong Kong
Ho's early cultivation of a mature painting style reflects a remarkable sense of drama through contrasting ink painting techniques and content in his compositions. From the 1970s onwards, intertwined trees are the focus of his studies to convey a sense of steadiness in contrast to the movement of winding rivers and journeying figures. His distinctive My Country, My People (Lot 534) series depicts a migration of people among trees wrought with shadows along the edge of a riverbank. A distant bridge crossing imbues the composition with drama and complex emotions meant to recall a homeland and the passage of time.
Landscapes spotlit in moonlight are also a common theme that appears in Ho's paintings, illustrating the wild expression of nature caught in the stillness of night, such as Night of the Forgotten Moon (Lot 547). Inspired by travels to Europe, Ho introduces new subjects to his painting, such as flowering vines and countryside architecture. Vine-Clad Cottage (Lot 569) displays a free brushstroke technique to capture the vitality of flowering vines growing wildly outside a whitewashed cottage. Ho's gestural style matured into the 1980s and he was once referred to as the "ink-version of Pollock."1 However, Ho denied the direct influence of Abstract Expressionist Jackson Pollock in his painting. Although he agreed with the ideology that art should reflect its era and the inner world of the artist, he emphasized that the influence of the West should not be followed blindly. Ho cultivated a sophisticated painting approach capable of absorbing Western concepts and combining the Chinese painting expressive xieyi technique with atmospheric perspectives in his painting, as illustrated in Daybreak and Realms of Dao Poetry (Lots 502 and 548).
Reflecting on life's constant struggles, Ho's paintings are infused with aesthetic contradictions and intellectual depth that engage a viewer to reflect our reality. In the 1990s, Ho Huaishuo depicts figures in his paintings, introducing the nude and Bodhidharma as seen in Lot 535. During this period, Ho discusses his pursuit of the truth of life and the world through the exploration of the unconscious.2 He writes that it is the painter's destiny "to use our Chinese spiritual essence to look squarely at the modern world, and through artistic expression in painting I experience and reflect upon contemporary life and the contemporary world." In his art and writing, Ho approaches his work with intellectual rigor in an effort to reveal a deeper humanity in the individual.
1 Ho Huai-Shuo, Inscriptions on his work Drizzling Rain in 1988, ibid., colour plate 16
2 Ibid., p. 135-136